by Rynette R. Kjesbo, M.S., CCC-SLP
What Is Preferential Seating?
Some students have disabilities that affect their abilities to see, hear, pay attention
to, or participate in activities in the same ways as their peers who do not have
disabilities. As a result, some students with disabilities are eligible to receive
accommodations such as preferential seating. Accommodations are adjustments
to the way educational services are delivered to students with disabilities.
Preferential seating means that a student’s seat is placed in a location
that is most beneficial for his/her learning in the classroom. For example,
if a student is very distractible, his/her seat might be placed away from doors
or windows which tend to have more distracting activity. If the student has a visual
impairment, his/her seat might be placed closer to the front of the room so that
the student can more easily perceive the teacher and visual aids used for instruction
(bulletin boards, posters, etc.). A student with a hearing impairment might need
a seat closer to the teacher in order to better hear the teacher’s voice. As well,
during some activities, such as taking a test, a student who needs preferential
seating might take the test (or perform the activity) in another room, separate
from his/her peers and the distractions of the classroom.
It is important to note that not each child with a disability needs preferential
seating. However, if you feel that your child’s disability keeps him/her from maximizing
learning in the classroom, and you feel he/she would benefit from preferential seating,
talk to your child’s teacher or IEP (Individualized Education Program) Team.